Norton Says Committee-Passed ‘Divest DC’ Resolution is a Gratuitous Assault on D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) blasted passage of the so-called “Divest DC” resolution (H.Res. 38) by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) today, but noted that the close 21-19 vote included a Republican Member, Representative Steve Russell (R-OK), voting against the resolution along with all the Committee’s Democrats. The measure, which raises the possibility of moving some federal agencies outside of the nation’s capital, was introduced by OGR Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) as a non-binding resolution, rather than a bill. Norton said that it was hard to take the resolution seriously, calling it “gratuitous, punitive, and prohibitively costly.” She said such a proposal would have devastating impacts not only on the District of Columbia, but on the federal government and the national capital region, and it disregards the fact that most federal offices and employees are already located outside of the District.
“I would be surprised if the Speaker would bring the ‘Divest DC’ resolution to the floor,” Norton said. “Even Republicans might not see ‘Divest DC’ as a serious proposal, particularly considering the tremendous costs to the federal government that deficit-conscious Republicans would have to justify. Cabinet-level executive branch agency headquarters are located in federally-owned spaces in D.C., and the federal government would have to fork over new construction and leasing funds. The federal government would also be throwing away the significant infrastructure investments it has made in this region. In effect, this resolution amounts to another gratuitous assault on the District of Columbia. I am grateful to Representative Russell for voting against the resolution. He agreed with us that the idea of a consolidated national capital came from the framers themselves and should be respected.”